The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people for their help to draw up a new pattern of council wards for West Berkshire Council.
The consultation is the first part of an electoral review which will re-draw ward boundaries across West Berkshire.
The Commission has also announced that it is minded to recommend that the council should have 42 councillors in the future: ten fewer than the current arrangements.
The Commission now needs information from people and groups across West Berkshire to help it to produce a new pattern of wards to accommodate 42 councillors.
In drawing up new boundaries, the Commission aims to deliver electoral equality for voters in council elections so that each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters. The review also aims to ensure that the new council wards reflect, as far as possible, the interests and identities of communities across West Berkshire.
Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said: “We are asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new wards for West Berkshire. As we develop the recommendations, we will take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral equality for voters.
“If you have a view about which communities or neighbourhoods should be part of the same council ward, then we want to hear from you. And if you think a road, river or railway makes for a strong boundary between communities in your part of West Berkshire, then this consultation is for you. Alternatively, if you’re simply interested in the way the council is run, just log on to our website to explore our interactive maps and have your say.
“Your views will make a difference.
“We will carefully consider all evidence that is provided during this phase of the review whoever it is from and whether it applies to the whole of West Berkshire or just a small part of the council area.
“Residents will then have a further chance to have their say after we publish our draft recommendations in June.”
Local people have until 3 April 2017 to submit their views. Further information on the review and interactive maps of the existing wards can be found at consultation.lgbce.org.uk and www.lgbce.org.uk.
Notes to editors:
1. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is responsible for reviewing local authority electoral arrangements, defining boundaries for local elections and the number of councillors to be elected, as well as conducting reviews of local government external boundaries and structures.
2. The aim of an electoral review is to provide for ‘electoral equality’; that means each councillor representing approximately the same number of electors. The Commission must also have regard to community identity and interests and providing effective and convenient local government.
3. The types of questions the Commission is asking residents at this stage are:
· Do you have suggestions about where your ward boundaries should be?
· Which areas do you identify as your local community?
· Where do people in your area go to access local facilities such as shops and leisure activities?
4. Residents have from 24 January until 3 April 2017 to have their say about where ward boundaries for West Berkshire’s 42 councillors should be drawn. The Commission will then publish its draft recommendations in June 2017 and open a further phase of consultation with local people. New wards are scheduled to come into effect at the 2019 council elections.
6. The electoral review of West Berkshire Council is a separate undertaking from the review of parliamentary constituency boundaries which is being carried out by a separate body (Boundary Commission for England) under different rules and legislation.
7. Members of the public can have their say on the new electoral arrangements by writing to:
The Review Officer (West Berkshire)
14th floor, Millbank Tower
London SW1P 4QP
Follow the Commission on Twitter: @LGBCE
Go directly to the Commission’s consultation portal at: consultation.lgbce.org.uk
Find out more on our website at: www.lgbce.org.uk
For further information contact the Commission’s press office on: 0330 500 1250 / 1525 or email: email@example.com